Crab Ceviche and Scallop Cau Cau

So far I’ve only made three Peruvian dishes but I’ve already learned they really like their sauces. The cookbook refers to them as pastes but maybe that’s a language thing. The most common so far has been the Yellow Chili, Garlic, and Onion Condiment, which I mentioned in the last post was just yellow chili blended with oil and then fried with red onion and garlic. I mention this because for two reasons: 1. the next two recipes call for three different sauces and 2. if you’re really trying Peruvian cooking, you just need to know this because it’s going to extend your time in the kitchen significantly. You can make the sauces, which is what I choose to do, or you can buy them if you have a Latin American supermarket near you. I choose to make them because I don’t see myself using these sauces a lot in the near future and I don’t have a large pantry that can accommodate some extra jars. Also, these sauces require peppers that aren’t that easy to find. Luckily I have Fiesta Mart so I was able to find most but not all. BUT I’ve searched the internet and have found some substitutes for you:

Rocoto pepper.

This looks like a small bell pepper but it’s not. They have black seeds and are a little spicy. The ceviche called for a Rocoto Pepper Paste, which was the pepper blended with vegetable oil, and it was so fragrant, it made me cough. According to the interwebs, you can substitute a habanero pepper for this one. I took a pic of the rocoto pepper because it’s so unique!

I was introduced to ceviche over ten years ago but it was a white fish ceviche. When they explained how the fish was “cooked” by the citric acid, I didn’t get it. Like, you cook with heat, not juice! I was never good at chemistry…when I finally got over it and tried it, it was delicious! I’ve had it numerous times since then but I’ve never actually made it myself, until today! And of course I chose crab ceviche, which involved shucking a crab, another first!

First things first: crabs look gross and they do not sing and dance like Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. That was a letdown. Second things second: crabs do not contain a lot of meat, at least not the blue crabs I used. The recipe called for 12 oz of meat but after smashing four crabs, I got half that amount. It worked out for us because only the hubs and I were eating but I tell him I was glad I wasn’t making this for a large group of people

Scallops hold a special place in my heart but not because they are delicious; I had scallops on James’ and my first date. Scallops will always remind me of that terrible first date. Memories! The mushiness of the potatoes paired well with the chewiness of the scallops but the real delight came from the peas and mint. I also think the rice with the cau cau was unnecessary. I think another veggie would be better because the potatoes are filing on their own. Both of us felt bloated after this meal but it was so good! It’s just part of the job, you know…



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